1. Adam Stainforth

    Adam Stainforth

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    Adam
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    All

    I'm quite new to photography and would like to know the best way to learn from peoples experience.

    I was thinking about the below different options:

    - Practice
    - online course
    - 1 to 1 tuition.

    Thoughts please.

    Thanks
    Adam
     
  2. Sky

    Sky

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    Trevor
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    1. Practice - obviously as with any new skill; the more you practice the better you will get.
    2. Online course - that's between you and your wallet, but there is plenty of free help on YouTube. Check out Mike Brown - easy to listen to, not too technical and if you want to pay for his courses you can.
    3. 1 to 1 - great, but expensive because there is so much to learn.

    My advice would be to take your time, enjoy your learning and don't be tempted to buy a load of gear that you many never need. Most important thing is to learn the 'exposure triangle'; shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings relationship. Get that right and the rest will just follow naturally. :)

    Good luck,

    Trevor
     
  3. rick448

    rick448

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    Rick
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    I agree with the above, I have used the Mike Brown courses and found them to be good, but there is loads of help on YouTube. One of the problems of just practising is, that you can end up making the same mistakes. Learn your camera settings too so a mix of the above will help, I'd probably steer away from 1 to 1 unless you have the spare cash.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018
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  4. TheBigYin

    TheBigYin Staff Member

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    Mark
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    1 practice
    2 practice
    3 practice some more.

    Find something you enjoy taking photo's of. Take photo's. Post them on here for critique, and LISTEN, UNDERSTAND and ACT upon what you're getting told. then go out and shoot a similar subject again, close the feedback loop, re-post, and keep going around and around and around. Eventually you'll improve, and expand you're repertoire...

    Get familiar with the technical basics of photography and understand you're equipment until they become instinctive, and stop getting in the way of the actual creative process of taking photos.

    In short, master the craft so you can forget about it and enjoy the art.
     
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  5. Harlequin565

    Harlequin565

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    Ian
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    Practise is a tool for improvement, but on its own is very slow. It would have taken me a lot of trial and error to make a decent Yorkshire pudding without any help. But once I had a recipe, practise became super useful! There was the book recipe, then my mum gave me a secret, then my gran. I've had a lot of feedback over the years, and now I'm pretty pleased with my Yorkshire's which are a blend of lots of things.

    How do you best learn? Some people like to read, others to watch, and others to just do. You probably need to figure out which is best for you (how did you learn best at school?)

    Evening classes at a local college can be a good half-way. Courses taught by teachers (rather than photographers) will include a variety of learning techniques and often will be reasonably priced (because they're not 1-1). My experience of 1-1 tuition is that it can be very hit & miss because whilst the teacher is likely to be a good photographer, they may not be skilled at imparting that knowledge. Online courses are good, but there is no instant feedback, and again, the quality can be hit & miss.

    Where do your weaknesses lie? Creatively or technically? Ideally, you'd want the creative bit in place first. That allows you to see the image. Then you need the technical skills to use your equipment to make that image. If you want creative help, then make sure that whatever route you choose includes it - because many places focus on the technical (because it's fact thus easy).

    The more people you can interact with on your journey, the better. But above all else, any knowledge you gain will just disappear unless you use it - especially as a beginner. So practise, practise practise. But first - find someone to show you what to practise.
    Good luck & welcome to TP!
     
  6. holty

    holty

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    get a cameya buddy
    join a camera club
     
  7. -Oy-

    -Oy-

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    Dave
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    ^^^^^ That in heaps with big knobs on :)

    It's amazing anyone managed to get a decent photo before YouTube :D
     
  8. Phil V

    Phil V

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    Phil
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    I wish I’d learned 5 years ago rather than 35 ;)

    The speed of learning using the internet is absolutely phenomenal! Not just the tutorials (written and video) but also the community and possibility of live feedback.

    But none of that replaces the time spent with camera in hand, and I’ve said it before, even sat in the lounge on an evening, getting used to focussing and metering. Learning how it all works and where all the controls are and what they do, till you can use them without thinking.

    Beginners get obsessed with ‘settings’ rather than techniques, they need to understand everything is relative, and settings pertain to circumstance and conditions, not end result.
     
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  9. viewfromthenorth

    viewfromthenorth

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    Andy
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    Everyone learns in a different way. Personally I got a lot from going to night school and doing a city and guilds course, mainly because I like structure. A side benefit of this is that you are learning with a group of others on the same journey and you are getting critique, ideas and maybe even a few friends along the way. YouTube came along when I already had half an idea what I was doing so I’ve not made much use of it other than for odd bits here and there.
    One to one can be good, I did a day with a chap who is a Monochrome expert and it changed my approach completely which was hugely beneficial.
    I didn’t learn any technique at a camera club, but the feedback I got from competitions was hugely useful. Not sure I’d recommend it for a beginner though.
    Whichever way you go, the important think is to learn-apply(practice) - reflect, then repeat.

    Good luck and enjoy the journey!
     
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  10. andrewc

    andrewc

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    Andrew Cliffe
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    Go out and shoot.

    A newcomer has to both learn the technical side of photography - how shutter speed, aperture and film sensitivity/ISO relate to each other to start with and then building up from there, but also has to learn the creative side of photography - what makes a good photograph and what doesn't and learning to see a photo.

    When reviewing the images, rather than just deleting them, consider what the failings of each photograph was before doing so, and what steps could have been done differently to save the photo from deletion - maybe there was a technical fault - too slow a shutter speed / focussed on the wrong point, or maybe there was a creative reason why the shot didn't work.

    There is a lot of online resources, much for free which can help a beginner get up to speed faster.

    Tuition is also good, or simply hooking up with a fellow photographer for a shoot - social media / forums such as this / local camera clubs.
     
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  11. Sectionate

    Sectionate

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    Nick
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    I would like to add - continue to practice.

    Experimenting is a good way to learnt too
     
  12. sirch

    sirch Official Forum Numpty 2015

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    Chris
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    It seems to me you need to get feedback (critique) and this forum is a great place for that. Take some photos and post them in the relevant section on here, state clearly what you were trying to achieve and the gear you used and you will get some really helpful comments on things that you did not know you should be thinking about (e.g. distrating elements in the bacground, blown highlights, busy compositions)
     
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  13. RichardC27

    RichardC27

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    This. I learned so much from posting my images on this forum for critique when I started out. I also found looking at the Exif data of a photo I liked to be a really valuable tool at the beginning. And above all, practice practice practice and practice again. There is basically no cost per image in digital photography once you've bought all the gear so take as many photos as you can and try out as many things as you can.
     
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  14. Adam Stainforth

    Adam Stainforth

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    Adam
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    All thanks for all the responses, I think alot of practice a bit of youtube to start.

    Thanks again I will post my photos for feedback.
     
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  15. Tom Pinchenzo

    Tom Pinchenzo

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    Tom
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    Looking at lots of photos in the genre you’re interested in is lots of help - try and pick out what aspects of the images make them good or bad. With the addition of YouTube videos and other online resources you will begin to understand WHY an image appeals to you aesthetically. When you know WHY an image is good you can begin to learn the technical aspects of how it’s made. I’m a fan of Thomas Heaton - he talks a lot about composition and WHY an image looks good as well as HOW he achieved it. But there are loads of others around.
     
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  16. Scots_quine

    Scots_quine

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    When I got my first Dslr I read the manual from front to back. I then booked two days on a 1-1 with a photographer. Fair enough, it cost me about the same as my entry level Camera but when I am out, I still hear his voice in my ear. I learned loads in those two days and got some cracking photos which gave me huge confidence in my gear.
    After that, I joined a camera club. I have done the odd face to face course since then on different aspects. I find I learn quicker from a person as I can ask questions.
    The bonus of a camera club is if you are interested in a particular type of photography there is always someone you can find that are more than willing to discuss technique, gear etc.
     
  17. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic

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    Terry
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    It entirely depends where you are starting from, and where you want to get.

    A child learns very differently than an adult.
    A child has no preconceived Ideas to get in the way, and nothing that they need to forget to be able to move on.

    I started at ten. but I had had a brother to watch, and envy, before that.
    Most of of what I learnt came from reading books and trying things out for myself.
    I learnt to develop films and make prints and enlargements that way, I never had a lesson.
    When I went to boarding school, I found by chance that they had a school darkroom, but no club or any one to teach how to do things, so I took advantage of what was there, as best I could. and with the help of a very good library, that contained every British journal almanac since the first issue.

    Likewise when in the forces in Germany I found that there was a darkroom in the camp YMCA to take advantage of.

    My first formal Photographic Education was on demob, when I signed up for a full time photographic course at the London School of Printing and Graphic Art.... and the rest is history.

    To day there as many different ways to learn as there are people. almost all of them give a direct exposure to other people experience via the web. Though the cameras themselves contain automatic modes that make things as simple or as complex as any one might need.

    The quickest first step into "Serious" photography. is probably with a few "one to one" sessions, with a willing mentor.
    Followed by a part time course at the local college, though " beginners" courses hardly get you out of the pram and are aimed at the bottom level of interest and ambition.
    Something with an exam at the end, or more specialised than a beginners course, is likely to be a better foundation for a lifelong interest.

    However there are no hard and fast rules, as demonstrated by the myriad ways that members on this forum have learned their skills.
     
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  18. mjScall

    mjScall

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    Matt
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    I'd say practice is by far the best way, but imo it's important to put some structure around it

    Set a theme for each month, either a photographic style or a subject and try and get one image in that theme that you are happy with.
    Obviously spend the whole month snapping away for 'fun' as well, doing whatever you want, but it's easy to just take hundreds of variations of the same photo that way, and never really learning much new.

    I have a bad habit of shooting as wide open as possible all the time for example, so I've been trying to focus (pun intended) on that in a few little projects.
     
  19. andybiff

    andybiff

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    Andy
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    First piece of advise take your camera everywhere you go and use it when you can even if it’s pictures of not a lot to practice. You tube is your friend so are a few books like understanding exposure. Also a fan of tony Northrop’s stunning digital photography.

    I was in a similar boat and have tried to teach myself over the past year and a half and have ended up confusing my self so decided to go and do a night course at local college for 15 weeks Nefertiti’s level 2 photography and this has helped me improve . But take as many pictures as you can.....
     
  20. droj

    droj

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    droj
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    But limiting dof by use of a large aperture is a basic compositional technique. Using it, you can make it clear where your attention lies within the frame, and also introduce some tasty bokeh!
     
  21. Caerus

    Caerus

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    Whatever you do, learn a camera manual inside out so you actually know your equipment properly ( after market are better imo )
    Many people try to skip this step and only know the basic operation of the equipment and I believe this is a bad start.
     
  22. mjScall

    mjScall

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    Matt
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    Yep, i should have clarified, when I said 'as wide as possible' I mean 'as wide as the lens will go' :)

    It started as a habit when I had my old APS-C camera, trying to get the exposure I was after, but now I'm FF I often push the DoF too far and lose focus on what I'm after

    As I'm usually taking photos of people and street scenes (or my dog :) ) it leads to lots of missed moments :(
     
  23. Nod

    Nod Kronus

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    Nod (NOT Ethel!!!)
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    Practice, ideally out with a mate who can give you a few pointers to reduce frustration when it arises.
     
  24. Sam Tip

    Sam Tip

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    Sam
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    This has absolutely been my experience, Mark. Very well put. Forums can get tangled up at times with so many opinions, preferences and even misinformation, but lots of practising in the field, and at the computer, will draw out the very best in us, reveal our potential and develop our skills for the "craft". No doubt. Online videos can also be helpful and motivational.
     
  25. riddell

    riddell

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    Paul
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    I think its very important to understand the right angle to come in at. Whichever method you choose you need to ensure you are referencing the right materials and the right techniques, because there is simply so much incorrect / bad or lazy techniques methods and advice out there.

    Personally whatever you do, you need to practice, and practice and practice some more. But reference against the right images. Go with standard from books and magazines, not from an average internet forum.

    Similar with courses out there, there are lots of excellent courses and tuition available, but there are also a lot run by what are effectively failed photographers who can't make a living at photography and so turn to teaching, the problem is that a lot of the them failed because they are not very good photographers, and now they want to pass those (lack of skills) onto you.

    So just keep practicing!
     
  26. juggler

    juggler

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    4,383
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    Simon
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    Practising is all very well - and indeed essential - but it's just as important to develop the skills to analyse your own - and other people's - pictures.

    Look at them hard.. what works, what doesn't? What could you have done better? If you don't know, how could you find out?
    It can be useful to watch critique videos on youtube. Just remember to take them with a pinch of salt.
     
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  27. Scirocco_09

    Scirocco_09

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    When I started I watched a lot of Mike Browne mixed with lots and lots of practice. I liked watching Gavin Hoey and his photo challenges too, a very enthusiastic bloke and though now I wouldn't shoot and edit like he does (or Mike), they were inspiring to me and showed what could be done. I do think it helps if you know why you got into photography, for me that was being out in nature, and after a while of shooting everything I realised landscapes were my passion and put everything into that. Vlogs have really taken off in the last few years so I'd be confident there's a lot more quality advice on YouTube than there was when I was starting out 8 years ago.
     
  28. jonbeeza

    jonbeeza

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    john
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    I did used to watch Mike Browne a few years ago. I think the last video clip I saw, there was a bit of confusion over a compact camera. He could not get it to focus, plus it kept getting referred to, as a " bridge camera".
     
  29. d00d

    d00d

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    David
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    Good question and a good variety of answers above. Got me thinking ....

    What do you really want to learn, first & foremost?

    a. How to find, recognise and decide what would make a good image, how to approach the subject, compose, frame & shoot.

    b. How to operate one of these extremely complicated little boxes of electronic wizardry, and where to draw the line between pre-camera settings and post-production work.


    :D
     
  30. DG Phototraining

    DG Phototraining Woof

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    1 - buy a Book or two to learn what you need to know, then

    2 - practice what you learnt from the book(s)

    3 - review your photos in relation to what the book(s) told you such that you can see where to improve

    4 - repeat 2 & 3 the rest of your life but adding in more learning from Youtube & other books

    5 - if you're struggling with something or feel there's a need to find something you're missing then get onto a 1-2-1 (in a couple of years at least)


    Practice alone is pointless as unless you can properly evaluate what you did well or poorly, and hence set about correcting mistakes, you'll never improve

    Dave
     
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  31. TheBigYin

    TheBigYin Staff Member

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    22,197
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    correct - it's all about closing that feedback loop...
     
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  32. droj

    droj

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    droj
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    Rather than the exact format of learning, maybe consider the following distinct areas that combine in the making of a photograph -

    1. Camera settings, and how they relate to exposure and particular purpose.
    2. The light! Learning to see it, in photographic terms. Not just subjectively, but analytically.
    3. Composition - framing, lighting, focus.

    And perhaps escape from the notion that a photograph is of a thing or things, because in a way every photograph is actually of the light and how the surfaces of the world receive that light. Think light!

    As a tutoring reference, look forever at photographs. Ask what they mean. Some mean a lot, some mean very little. But it's a expressive medium and a communicative one, at its best. I think that the learning phase (not that it ever stops really) is a time to be playful, too - which leads to personal discovery as well as finding what works and what doesn't.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018 at 1:29 PM
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